As anyone who watched the excellent All or Nothing: Arsenal documentary will know, the Gunners fell away at the end of 2021/22 and just missed out on qualification for the Champions league in 2022/23. Despite the disappointing end to their campaign, fans had begun to believe in both the club and the manager, Mikel Arteta, and hopes were high ahead of the new campaign. That said, we doubt even the most optimistic of Arsenal fans would have predicted things would turn out quite as well as they did.
Premier League: Superb Gunners Stumble But Second Shows Huge Progress
As most football fans will know, Man City did the treble in 2022/23 but for much of the season it was Arsenal who led the way in the Premier League and were the bookmakers’ favourites. Arteta’s young tyros played exciting football and made a sensational start to the campaign. As we can see in the full list of results below, they lost just one of their opening 20 matches and only dropped seven points during that incredible spell.
They won their opening five league games and, one week aside, were top of the table from the 20th of August until Man City leap-frogged them in late April. City beat Arsenal 4-1 at the Etihad and never looked back from there, having been allowed back into the title race thanks to the Gunners drawing three in a row prior to that defeat against Pep’s men.
In the final analysis Arteta’s troops will be disappointed to have only won three of their last nine matches. But even so, they finished second in the league, nine points clear of Man United in third. Their 84 points was their best tally since the Invincible campaign of 2003/04, whilst second was their highest finish since 2016. So, a season tinged with disappointment but an incredible performance nonetheless. Can Arsenal go one better in 2023/24?
Arsenal’s Excellent Signings Make the Difference
Since taking over as boss, Arteta has been reshaping the Arsenal squad. Big names who would not toe the line have left and in have come a number of hungry, young and hugely talented players and leaders. However, Arteta knew that the Gunners still needed that extra little bit of experience, leadership and winning know-how.
In total, over both windows, they spent around £150m net. Whilst they added some promising young talent, it was the dual capture of Gabriel Jesus and
that really caught the eye. Many initially felt that if Pep was prepared to let these players go, especially to a potential rival, he must have had good reason. Increasingly, as the former City duo delivered the goods, more pundits began to feel the City manager had erred.
They, along with other big signings Leandro Trossard, and to a lesser extent Fabio Vieira and Jorginho, settled in nicely. Jesus was injured for much of last term but if he stays fit then the Gunners could really challenge for the title.
Europa League Results for Arsenal
Having disappointingly been pipped to fourth place in 2021/22, Arteta and co would have to play in the second-tier Europa League in 2022/23. Despite the manager frequently making changes to his starting XI, the Gunners breezed through Group A, winning five of six games to top the pile ahead of PSV Eindhoven.
At this stage, thanks to their league form and the performances of English clubs in general, Arsenal were well fancied for a strong run in the Europa League, with many tipping them to win it. They progressed straight to the last 16 as group winners and were also seeded, and were big favourites to get past Portugal’s Sporting. A 2-2 draw away in Lisbon was a solid result and fans would have been confident of getting the job done at the Emirates in the return.
It wasn’t to be though, as the Portuguese outfit came from a goal down to secure a 1-1 draw. The clash remained level at 1-1 after an additional 30 minutes of football, away goals not being used as a tiebreaker, and so the match went to a shootout. The first six penalties found the back of the net but Arsenal blinked first and the penalty-perfect Portuguese advanced 5-3 in the shootout.
Arsenal’s FA Cup Ended by City
The Gunners have done superbly well in the FA Cup over the past 25 years or so and their eight victories since 1998 mean they have 14 in total – more than any other club. In 2022, though, as we have alluded to, it was City who claimed the silverware and they also eliminated Arsenal.
The Gunners saw off Oxford United 3-0 in the Third Round at the Kassam Stadium. However, they got the toughest draw possible and had to travel to the Etihad for their match in the Fourth Round. It was a close game but they lost 1-0, the fifth season out of six where they had failed to make the Fifth Round.
Even Worse for Arsenal in the EFL Cup
There isn’t much to say about Arsenal’s results in the 2022/23 League Cup. They got drawn at home against Brighton. They lost 3-1. That’s that!
Who Was Arsenal’s Top Scorer?
Arsenal really shared the goals around in 2022/23, with six different players bagging at least nine goals. It is often said that having multiple goal threats and players capable of chipping in is the sign of a top team. That is certainly how the club managed to score over 100 goals in all competitions for the first time since 2018/19 and also net 88 in the Premier League, their highest tally ever in the competition. Leading tallies for all competitions can be seen below:
- Bukayo Saka, Martin Odergaard & Gabriel Martinelli – All 15
- Gabriel Jesus – 11
- Eddie Nketiah & Granit Xhaka – Both 9
As well as being the club’s co-top scorer, Saka was also their leading man for assists too. The England star, whose numbers are just getting better every year, registered 11 assists, all in the PL. Trossard bagged 10, despite only signing from Fulham in January. Moreover, in a sign of their wide-ranging creative talents, five further players recorded six or more assists.